SAP tries to show us how big its IoT is

Posturing in the technology industry is nothing new, but it can be slightly awkward when it’s a company which is still trying to justify its place in the cloud era.

SAP is one of those organizations that has had to work hard to remain relevant in the cloud defined world. Like Oracle, IBM, Intel and many others, the German enterprise software giant has had to redefine its business model to remain competitive in the new digital economy. There has been progress but occasionally such companies are caught in the shadows of the leaders of the new hierarchy.

When that happens noise needs to be made to make sure we don’t forget about them. That’s where we find SAP this week as the team announced its intention to spend €2 billion over five years to expand its IoT portfolio, and also to make a more significant impact on the connected services market.

“With billions of connected devices, we now have the potential to reshape society, the economy and the environment,” said Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP. “SAP HANA is the data platform we knew would unlock the Internet of Things. Today SAP is making another bold investment to help our customers seize the benefits of live business. Only SAP empowers businesses to innovate from the core to the edges to the networks.”

The investment will support SAP’s efforts to build several IoT development labs around the world and as well as launch a new product line, which the team have very sensibly named SAP IoT. No messing around and straight to the point, a highly functional name; does what it says on the tin. Good work all round.

To support the growth of the IoT business unit, SAP has also announced a couple of acquisitions. PLAT.ONE, an enterprise-grade IoT provider, will provide the team expertise to ‘accelerate the availability of key IoT capabilities in SAP HANA Cloud Platform’, the team claims. Norwegian Fedem Technology will also be welcomed to the SAP family. Fedem will add a bit more weight to the analytics side of SAP, as the team aim to develop an (deep sigh) ‘end-to-end solution’ for the IoT world. The recent tie-up with engineering giant Bosch also adds weight. The partnership will use Bosch’s platform and SAP’s back-end software to connect vehicles, manufacturing machinery and tools of Bosch customers.

SAP is still trying to figure out its place in the new digital world. Cloud was the focal point of all marketing campaigns in previous years, and now it would appear IoT is going to be the star performer. An uncharitable commentator could position this announcement little more than a plea for attention (don’t forget about us – we’re still important), though the two acquisitions do add a bit of weight to the posturing.

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